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Living in exile in the Venetian ghetto with his mistress Katharina and his new-born son, Edmund Shakespeare reflects on the events which led to his incarceration in the Tower, charged with treason. As he examines his memories, thinking back over his life as a player with the King's Men, he sets out to evaluate his own past conduct, trying to understand how far he was inculpated in treachery and to work out who betrayed him to the ruthless Lord Salisbury. In January 1606, London was a dangerous place; the gunpowder plot had just been foiled, spies and informers were everywhere, suspicion was rife in the streets and the terror of Catholic fanatics was as strong in the people as it was in the Government. It wasn't only players who performed a part; it was a time when everything was uncertain and nothing was what it seemed. Like so many lurking in the streets of the city, Edmund adopted multiple disguises and beneath those disguises he hid many secrets. As the novel unfolds, the reader begins to uncover the truth about Edmund, about his identity, about his involvement with the conspirators and to reach some understanding of his guilt and his innocence. Was the gunpowder plot organised by the Jesuits, as Lord Salisbury claimed, or was Salisbury himself orchestrating the whole affair for his own ends? This is a historical novel with profoundly modern themes: the fear of terrorism, political manipulation of information, and issues of religious fundamentalism and intolerance.